In the fall of 2010 the Tea Party was swept into power on a wave of voter discontent promising to turn the country around by reigning in out of control government spending. They were riding high on populist anger pushing a hard ideological line as the solution to our nation's problems. Five months later the Tea Party's approval ratings have plummeted, Republican governors riding the wave have seen their support evaporate, and the oncoming government shutdown has put the ascendant Republicans in a serious bind. Regardless of the cause of the Tea Party and GOP's woes can be summed up in one word.
No one can deny the Tea Party-fueled gains of the Congressional Republicans in the 2010 elections. They trumpeted their victory as a mandate by the voters to pursue a ultraconservative antigovernment agenda. Yet for all the claims of strong support what the mandate they received was less clear. A large part of their victory in 2010 was thanks to highly depressed voter turnout especially among groups that Obama depended on for his 2008 victory. With only 41% of voters bothering to come to the polls as opposed to the low 70s that we saw in 2008 probably the clearest thing the voters did say was they had enough with government as usual. With the certainty of victory the hard-right Tea Party candidates in Congress and state government moved forward to make the perceived mandate a reality. Ironically enough it was putting their agenda into action that has led to a serious case of buyer's remorse across the board.
Also posted at PAGAN+Politics